Originally posted by dr_strangecraft
The idea that some people ought to be burdened differently, just because we don't like them as much, is the definition of unfairness; and it's a
point you never address.
Oh, sorry about that. It's not a point I ever raised, either, or argued. It's a totally stupid, utterly nonsensical point that has nothing to do
with the discussion. But for the record, no, I don't believe some people ought to be burdened differently "just because we don't like them as
I guess I didn't answer the question, because I didn't take it seriously, because it doesn't deserve to be taken seriously.
Taxation is indeed the price of citizenship, but it also has much to do with income. Why not take your position to its logical conclusion, and argue
for a really truly flat tax in which all taxpayers pay the same dollar amount, rather than the same percentage of their income? Then taxes really
would have nothing to do with income. As things stand, they do.
Whether you use the word 'equal' or 'acceptable,' you're still imposing someone who will judge what an acceptable outcome should look
But that's unavoidable. No matter what kind of system we have, it will always have rules that create a certain outcome, and those rules are in place
because that outcome was judged to be acceptable. That includes a capitalist system, of course: its rules are designed to encourage the amassing of
great wealth by a few people, and as a consequence, to keep most people struggling and in service to those few. People who advocate that system like
to pretend that this is a "natural" outcome of free commerce, but it's not, it's a product of the laws regarding property, corporations, labor,
and so forth, as well as the tax system.
No one is condemned to a life of drudgery because of their intelligence. Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson bring hope to millions who never
finished high school. As a matter of fact, half of all US millionaires never finished college. So obviously, inherited "open doors" matter a lot
less than other factors do.
I didn't say less educated than I am (I never finished college, either), I said less intelligent. Not at all the same thing.
And no, it's not obvious. College is only one of the doors that being from a middle- or upper-class family opens. Probably more important (for an
entrepreneur anyway) is access to capital, and contacts that help get a business started.
And even if someone is "condemned to a life of drudgery" by their IQ, taxing other people at a higher rate will not increase anyone's IQ.
Of course not. Nor did anyone suggest that it would, nor does that have any bearing on the discussion whatsoever.
I think you can figure out for itself what it WOULD do, though. Do I need to spell it out for you?
Look, the whole Idea of a progressive tax implies that there is something immoral about increasing your income
It does? Taxation is a punishment, then? The more evil you are, the more taxes you pay? I thought you said it was the price of citizenship?
Have you ever heard the term noblesse oblige
? Look it up, if you haven't. There's a justification for the rich paying higher taxes, much
better than the idea that being rich is immoral.
You need to read up on the demographics of wealth in the US. Most high income-earners are first-generation wealthy
Define "high income-earners" and "wealth," please. Or here, let me give you my definition of "rich." A "rich" person is someone who isn't
of retirement age who makes his living off capital rather than labor, and who pulls in at least a million dollars a year from capital investments. He
may work (most do, in fact), but he doesn't HAVE to work in order to live an extremely comfortable life.
Do you think that more than half of people fitting that description are first-generation wealthy?
I suppose that if you consider a hundred grand a year "rich" and include people who work for their money (professionals, that is), then you might be
right. But in my book, a professional (doctor, lawyer, etc.) is middle-class, not rich.
The old inherited wealth of the likes of Kennedy and Kerry is all tied up in trust funds and T-bills and is thus completely tax-free.
Not the part they spend. But of course, our tax system has a lot of loopholes in it that are there to benefit the rich. I'm not presenting it as a
But then, nearly 80% of the millionaires in the US are first-generation rich.
A statement that would be better supported by both links and definitions. By definitions, I mean of course what you mean by "rich" ("millionaire"
is already defined).
Think about it. We've had a progressive income tax for almost a hundred years--and the left continues to tell us that the rich are getting
richer and the poor are getting poorer. So apparently, a graduated tax isn't slowing them down any.
Actually, it did slow them down, but not as much as some other measures (like labor rights recognized by the government) that have been effectively
reversed in the last 20 years or so.
But you continue to miss the point, it seems. A graduated income tax isn't designed to redistribute wealth any more than it's designed to improve
people's IQ. It's designed to have the burden of taxation fall heaviest on those who can most easily pay it.